Archive Files of Cajun, Creole, and Zydeco Musicians
Posted between 1999 and 2008

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    Joe Hall

Click here for high resolution photos of Joe Hall and of Joe Hall and the Louisiana Cane Cutters posted on Flickr.

Shown performing at the Liberty Theater are,
from left, Nolton Semien, Mitch Reed,
Joe Hall, Lisa Reed, and Mary Jane
Broussard. Click on thumbnails for larger


Mary Jane Broussard is shown at the Liberty
Theater. The left shot of Nolton Semien was
taken at Festivals Acadiens in 2006 when
he was performing with other Creole
musicians including Jeffery Broussard and
D'Jalma Garnier. The three have played
together as the Trio Kreole.

Blake Miller is shown on fiddle. The shot
below shows the Louisiana Cane Cutters
at the 2007 Breaux Bridge Crawfish
Festival. Jay Miller is shown on drums.


New CDs released
in 2006 and 2007

Joe Hall has released two CDs in the span of less than a year, one in mid-2006 that also features two other Creole musicians, Nolton Semien and Mary Jane Ardoin Broussard, and the other in May 2007 with a new band, the Louisiana Cane Cutters.

La Danse Finit Pas: Classic Louisiana Creole Music, the 2006 CD, includes songs that Joe learned by visiting the Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, especially recordings of Freeman Fontenot (1900-1986), a Creole musician from the Basile area who, according to Lisa Reed in her liner notes, was famous for his dance hall and for his work in preserving Creole culture (he is interviewed in Ann Savoy’s Cajun Music: A Reflection of a People).

In addition to dedicating the CD to Freeman Fontenot’s memory, Joe Hall performs three Freeman Fontenot accordion solos: “La femme des autres,” “Les deux cousins,” and “Fais-do-do bébé” (a mazurka).  Hall draws on his own direct musical ancestry to perform “King Ned’s One-Step,” a song by his grandfather, Clement Ned, on which fiddler Mitch Reed beautifully doubles the accordion melody.

Born and raised in Eunice, Hall also learned from the late Bois Sec Ardoin and has been influenced by other Creole musicians, including Nolton Semien, whom he met when Nolton was playing in 2005 at the Blue Moon Saloon in Lafayette. Nolton has passed along some of his knowledge of old-time music, including help with the Creole version of “La Cucaracha” that Hall plays as the first cut. On the CD, Nolton plays and sings “The Seventy-Three Special” and his accordion is featured on “Acadian Breakdown.” 

Mary Broussard, another musician with deep roots in the Creole culture, plays the accordion on the instrumental “The Jennings Two-Step” and plays and sings “J’ai passé devant ta porte.”  Her uncle on her mother’s side was the late Creole fiddler Carlton Frank and her father was Bois Sec Ardoin’s brother.

Lisa Reed’s notes include more information about the other musicians: D’Jalma Garnier on guitar, Gus Ardoin on bass, and Dexter Ardoin on drums. For the last cut on the CD, Joe Hall offers his rendition of an old-time closing number, “There’s No Place Like Home,” which turns into a lively two-step. There's no place like home to dance, and  this CD fulfills the promise of its title, la danse finit pas.

Joe Hall and the Louisiana Cane Cutters released their CD Good Times, Good Music May 5, 2007, at the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival. In addition to Hall on accordion and vocals, the CD features Blake Miller on fiddle. Miller, who played both fiddle and accordion with the New Pine Grove Boys, among other groups, and now is bassist with the Pine Leaf Boys, does a fine job of Creole-style fiddling to match Hall’s accordion.

Instrumentals include “Back of Town,” “Yo Yo Two-Step,” “Mamou Hot Step,” and “Fond Culotte.” Joe Hall handles the vocals on “Ouvre la porte,” “Cherokee Waltz,” “Slept Outside Last Night,” “Mon coeur fait mal,” “Mr. Menard” (a version of “Petite ou la grosse”), “Grand Marie” (to the tune of the “Midland Two-Step”), and “La robe à parasol,” an old mazurka folk tune that Hall previously recorded with Mitch Reed (“Taille ta robe de mode à parasol,” referring to a way of cutting a dress in the parasol style—according to Eraste Carrière, a parasol is a full hoop skirt).

Other musicians are Kevin Murphy on guitar (the recording was made at his studio in Arnaudville), Jay Miller on drums, and Dexter Ardoin on bass. Tony Daigle plays bass on one number.

In these two CDs, Joe Hall demonstrates his commitment to old style Creole music and his ability to take that traditional sound into the 21st century with the Louisiana Cane Cutters.

The numbers for bookings listed on the 2006 CD are (337) 296-0730 and (337) 780-2286.


2003 Update: Joe Hall and Mitch Reed Release Creole CD

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Mitchell Reed on fiddle and Joe Hall on accordion and vocals are shown performing at the first annual Acoustic Music Festival held October 4, 2003, at Acadian Village in Lafayette. In the photo at right, Joe Hall really lets loose on "Two-Step d'Amédè."
In 2003, Joe Hall released a collection of Creole songs done in the old style with Cajun fiddler Mitchell Reed, who also has always included Creole music in his repertoire going at least as far back as his performance of "Blue Runner" with the Mamou Prairie Band on a 1993 CD.

Like Joe Hall, Reed was a friend of the late Creole fiddler Calvin Carrière, who suggested to Hall that he meet Reed. When Hall stopped by Reed's Louisiana Heritage and Gifts store in Lafayette, he noticed a photo of the late Creole fiddler Douglas Belard on the wall, and he told Reed that Bellard used to play with his grandfather, King Ned. They started talking some more about Creole music and the songs they knew until Joe reached for an accordion, played a few tunes, and Mitch reached for his fiddle. That initial meeting led to Joe attending jam sessions at the store, and then to the CD, which was recorded at the store.

The CD includes some tunes with familiar names–"Scott Playboy Special," "Mon vieux wagon," "Hack  à Moreau," "Les flammes d'enfer," "Tit gallop pour la pointe aux pins,"  for example–but, played in the old Creole style with different lyrics, these standards of Cajun bands are transformed into the kind of real down home Creole music that friends and family might have listened to gathered at a country house many decades ago. There is also "La robe à parasol" from the Carrière repertoire and "Calvin Carrière Breakdown," along with other Creole songs for a total of 14 cuts on the CD, a wonderful collection of true Louisiana roots music.

In 2003, Joe Hall was also performing with his band, Jody and the Stomp Down Zydeco Band.

2003joe-hall-geno.jpg (23587 bytes) In the photo at left, Joe Hall is shown giving the crowd at Geno Delafose's 2003 Fan Appreciation Party a sample of his Stomp Down Zydeco.

In addition to the Creole sit-down style, Hall can also rev up his accordion for some thumping zydeco. Like Geno, his zydeco is rooted in Creole tradition, but it also gets dancers moving on the floor with some vigorous, deft zydeco fingering on his accordion.

The photo was taken Oct. 11, 2003, at the Northwest Community Center Pavilion in Eunice.

While many younger musicians are intent on combining zydeco with hip hop or rap or some other import from American pop culture, Joseph Hall has gone back to the roots of zydeco, learning to play accordion by studying with the legendary Creole musician Bois Sec Ardoin. Hall was inspired by his grandfather, a Creole accordionist who played every Saturday night. He points out that the Creole accordion style of playing is basically more difficult than the style used by most Zydeco players.

At the 2000 Original Southwest Louisiana Zydeco Festival, Hall put together a millennium edition of the Lawtell Playboys, featuring the late  Calvin Carrière, then 78 years old, a fiddler whose musical roots go back to the la-la music that was a forerunner of zydeco. Other members of the ensemble were Shelton Broussard (of Zydeco Force) and Paul Newman.

Hall also the band Jody and the All Stars, a group that  performed at area dances and also performed live on KRVS radio's Saturday morning "Zydeco Est Pas Salé" program.

Hall can be contacted at 1267 Bushville Hwy., Arnaudville, LA 70512; phone (337) 507-3746; or by cell phone at 337-257-4138.

.The top picture of Joseph Hall was taken at noon on a very hot day at the 18th annual Southwest Louisiana Zydeco Festival, September2, 2000, in Plaisance. The picture underneath it was taken at Geno Delafose's annual Fan Appreciation Party October 14, 2000, in Eunice. Hall was one of the guest performers. The other pictures, both taken in Plaisance, show Hall with Calvin Carrière on fiddle and the entire ensemble, with Shelton Broussard at left and Paul Newman at right.

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All photographs and text by David Simpson.

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